Why I Share Articles About Anxiety


As I have grown to understand the full scope of my anxiety, I am more open about discussing anxiety.  I tell people I have anxiety.  Some believe they can relate and are sympathetic.  Some do have anxiety but never speak of their own struggles.  I sometimes wonder if they think I am brave for vocalizing mine.  Then there are others who do not understand anything.  They associate anxiety with being nervous before a test or feeling stressed at work.  They do not feel anxious every second of every day.  They are why I share articles about anxiety.

Someone offered me a neck and shoulder rub.  They said, “You’re so tense.  Loosen up.  Relax.”  I replied, “I always feel like this.  This IS me relaxed.”  At the time, I did not know all the physical symptoms of anxiety.  I have experienced muscle tension as long as I can remember.  I did not realize I lived with this condition for almost 20 years.  Everyone says I look tense, on edge, or hyper alert.  It makes them uncomfortable, but they have no idea how uncomfortable I am.  Their discomfort goes away; mine is constant.  They are why I share articles about anxiety.

I want to understand myself, so I can heal and grow.  I want other people to better understand where I am coming from and possibly appreciate me a little more.  I want potential romantic partners to understand why I worry or lack confidence in myself.  I want everyone to be patient with me and understanding.  I want to be loved in a way I have never known.  I want to feel comfortable and at ease with someone; with everyone.  I want to feel like I am not a burden to everyone around me.  That is why I share articles about anxiety.  That is why I write articles about anxiety.

Writing & Revision: My 4 Steps


Everyone has a different way for doing anything and everything.  When discussing the writing process, some prefer typing over handwriting and vice versa.  Which is better for someone starting their writing career?  You must figure that out on your own.  Some people type faster than they write.  Others cannot type at all.  Try both and decide which one works best for you.  You will eventually have to type your work, but the first step should feel easy and natural, so you can get your thoughts out quickly before you lose them.  These steps are my process and may not work for you.  This is just a guide to help you find your own process.

1.  Write the Rough Draft

I prefer writing by hand.  I always have.  I can ink out the words on paper faster than I will ever type.  My hand can keep up with my brain and before I know it, I have written four pages.  I am not against typing the first draft, but I save that for short blog articles or lists.  Long form fiction; I am writing that by hand and will not type until the short story or chapter is finished.

2.  Type the Rough Draft

When I finally go back and read what I wrote, I am shocked at how many grammatical mistakes I made.  Things are misspelled or missing letters (seriously); it looks like a jumbled mess.  Fortunately, I know what I thought when I wrote those terrible sentences, so I correct them as I type.  Sometimes I forget to write down a thought I had.  I do not know how I missed it but I add this in as I type.  If I had typed the rough draft first, I would spend more time correcting mistakes as I go than getting the words out.  This is why I handwrite first.  I get everything saved on my computer, fixing the minor grammar and spelling errors.  The 2nd draft is finished.

3.  The First Revision

I consider this the first real revision.  I print the document; 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, double spaced.  The focus of this revision is to flush out the ideas and expand the details.  Depending on what the story needs, I will add dialogue and build better character descriptions.  I make sure there are no plot holes unless I want to have plot holes.  I remove the passive voice in every sentence.  I remove the words “is” and “was” and rewrite the sentences so everything still makes sense.  Some sentences I delete all together.  I make the notations in ink and then I make the corrections on the digital file.  The 3rd draft is finished.

4.  The Show & Tell Revision

I always heard people criticize my writing by saying, “Show me, don’t tell me.”  The annoying aspect of this criticism; they never offered any examples.  Plainly put, I did not know what they were talking about.  I had to learn this on my own.  This is the most difficult part of revision for me and can result in multiple drafts during this step.  You revise and have a fourth draft, but you have more to show so you write a fifth draft; and so on until you have the best story ever written.  An easy out with this is using dialogue to describe things in the story.  Otherwise, you have to find ways to describe the anger in a character without saying, “This character felt angry.”  The writing process never ends and will always take longer than you prefer.

As I mentioned before, everyone’s process is different.  Experiment.  Try new things and learn what works best for you.  There is no right or wrong way.  Some things to remember; if you want to get published in a magazine or have a book traditionally published, you need to eliminate all the passive voice and always show not tell.  The more writing you do, the better you become.  Keep writing.  Keep revising.  Keep submitting to online journals.  The difference between successful people and everyone else is successful people have failed more times than everyone else has tried.  Never give up; never surrender.

2018 Starts Rough

We are one month in to 2018 and my life is already a rollercoaster of ups and downs.  While leaving out the extreme personal stuff, like my daily battle with anxiety, I will attempt to give you a recap of my life and my many misadventures.  For starters, I no longer work at a bar which is psychologically satisfying.  I served 5 years as the Head of Security and this only added more stress and magnified my anxiety.  I jumped off the boat at the first opportunity that presented itself.

This brought about other complications.  I had a couple weeks of free time and this was painful.  My mind rebels at stagnation.  With a bit of motivation from some minor grief, I have been writing up a storm.  I finished the first draft of a novel back in November and I have slowly started the revision process along with revising several short stories I have neglected.  Recent motivations caused me to write a screenplay, first one, and it has been revised once.  I am hoping to produce the film within the year, but it does not follow a traditional film script, and this could cause complications.

I have also started writing online articles in the hopes of starting a writing career.  I wrote a couple articles for BuzzFeed and you can view them Here.  I also have a couple articles on my LinkedIn profile and you can view those Here.  The writing I am most proud of are the articles featured on TheMighty.com.  These articles help me cope with and better understand my anxiety and it is a great place for people with any disorder to go and feel like a part of a community.  Just because you are struggling does not mean you are broken.  You can view all those articles Here.

As far as work and making money, I have actually turned down a couple jobs because I did not want to work some crap office job that I would hate after a couple years, just like every other job I have ever done.  I am trying my hand at this freelance gig and hope that it pays off.  I need more writing projects and I am already working on doing more in the entertainment industry of Tucson with my company, VaudVil.  It will be a long process and none of it will be easy, but I am so much more satisfied with my life even with all the uncertainty.  I think I am finally ready for my future.

Sometimes You Need to Reboot

I took a personal day away from the world yesterday. I turned off notifications for all my social media on my phone. I did not message or call anyone. Other than going to work, the only interaction I had with the outside world was going to Starbucks for about an hour to do some writing. I could easily say I needed a break from all the stimuli but I think it was much deeper than that. I literally and metaphorically needed to start over, start fresh, return to default factory settings. Sometimes you need to reboot.

For nearly a week, I found myself getting more and more angry over the pitiful nonsense of messages and notifications from email and social media. Even the sound my phone makes when I get an email drove me crazy. I turned this off before my antisocial blackout. Part of me blames Facebook for changing their algorithms. There was the nonsense and there were issues from work floating in and personal issues; some from the outside world and some from within. The growing irritation with everything in the world followed by the insecurities and confusion of everything that didn’t irritate me, pushed me into a feeling of unrest and panic.

I have learned a lot about myself after learning that I have anxiety and depression. Many behaviors that are physical signs of anxiety and depression I have had since I was very young. I have had these issues since I was very small. Learning this destroyed my self-image entirely and my reaction to this was feeling like garbage and believing I was garbage to everyone in my life. Even if I had no reason to believe so, I thought I had been selfish or awful to everyone I knew or cared about.

I wanted a day of nothing; a day that I could just be in my head and nothing else. I realized that my job has a lot of external stimuli that I never have time to recoup from because I am bombarded by other external stimuli from technology. I had to get away from some of it so I took away my connection to the outside world. I turned myself off and back on again. I am sure that some people noticed my lack of interaction with the world yesterday. I am certain they want to know if I am okay. The honest answer is I am apathetic but I am okay.

The reset feels like it worked. I am ready to take on the world and everything it will throw at me but there is one thing I am concerned about. I believe in my sudden panic, I could have pushed someone away; someone I believe I know well but I still know so little of myself. I think they will understand what I had to do but are they willing to speak to me again? Whatever the future holds, I am ready for it. I am ready to keep fighting.

The Negative Thoughts

You feel it coming. It slowly creeps in like a snake through the forest. You always feel it coming. No matter how prepared you are or how well you fight your own mind; the negativity gets inside your head. You battle as you have before and no matter how many times you win, it always returns. You tell yourself happy things; you tell others happy things hoping that will make you happy. You see someone else is battling negative thoughts and you send them messages and tell them nice things, sweet things, things you, yourself, want someone to say to you.

It never comes, at least not from those you wish those words would come from. Maybe now and then someone tells you a nice thing or smiles at you but you play it off as superficial; it is not real. This makes the negativity grow and fester and engorge your soul. You feel it taking over. You always feel it taking over. How do you fight something that is always there? How do you fight something that never leaves? How do you fight yourself? How do you keep it at bay for so many months only to have it reclaim your life in a single moment?

The negativity. The worry. Nothing is good enough. Even when you help pump someone else up and you think maybe they had a good day because of you; sure, you feel better but it is like a sugar rush. You get your high and then you crash and must force yourself out into the world. If you force yourself out, you can keep the bad thoughts away. At least, that is what you tell yourself. Staying busy is the key, you say; but being busy only postpones how you will feel when you get home.

No matter what you do, no matter what you accomplish, no matter how much you force positive thoughts into your head; you feel your life battery slowly drain. Everything starts to fall away. The little things go first. You hardly notice. Then bigger things and bigger things and the very large things slip into oblivion. They are not gone. You just have no desire to seek them out. You have no desire for any things you once desired. A shell of a person; dead empty eyes. You push yourself out of bed and take some vitamins; B-1; Thiamin.

Do vitamins help? You think they do. You think maybe they keep you from going all the way dark. You think they keep you away from the dark side. You have not been there in so many years and have no wish to return. The negativity, the darkness, the pain from within your own head; it is a tragedy that no one will ever see or hear. Even if you told everyone, they would never see the full picture, hear the full sound, think the full thoughts. You keep fighting the negativity away. You keep sending happy thoughts to the other people with your same thoughts. Always hoping they will return the favor.

Feelings and Things

You constantly feel like your life is going up and down and sideways and slantways and forward and backward and you have just felt every emotion and it has only been a few hours since you woke up.  All these things happen to you in a short amount of time and you feel you have lived in lifetime in a matter of minutes.  Some days everything makes sense and other days you do not understand why anything happens the way it does and no one believes you when you tell them nothing makes sense anymore.

You spend days worrying about everything and it feels like your mind is about to explode then one little thing happens and your whole world changes.  It is difficult for you to explain this sudden change in the world to anyone so you do not even try.  You get that news you have been hoping to hear but never thought would come and even though you are finally having a good and happy day, you still cannot stop thinking about everything and all the things and too many things.  Fighting your mind is a never-ending battle.  Peace and calm is a foreign idea you may never find.

You know the slump will come back but you do not know when.  All you can do is try to force it back if you can and have little things in place that keep you up during the time you constantly feel down.  Sometimes getting a discount on a purchase is the only good thing that happened that day.  You count it as a win just to make yourself feel like the whole day was not a waste.  It is part of the constantly changing rollercoaster of your emotions.  Every day is something new and exciting and terrifying and you cannot stop from being excited and terrified about everything and all the things and too many things.  You feel everything.  You feel too much.

Trapped and Forgotten


Some days are better than others.  Some days are just casual; neither good nor bad.  Some days you feel trapped and forgotten.  Those are the days you struggle the most.  Those are the days where nothing you do or think brings you peace and you try to stay busy and distracted but at least four times in that day everything will weigh you down.  You never feel more alone than you do on these days.  Even when you force yourself to go places to be around people, any people, it still does not feel right and you want to run away from everything.

You never run away because you are more terrified of trying to figure out what to do.  No matter how painful it is, you cling to what is familiar.  You are afraid of making changes but you are also afraid of missing new opportunities.  You fight with yourself whether you should say something or do something or if it is worth the trouble.  When you finally do something that you told yourself not to do, and everything goes wrong the same way you told yourself it would; you wish you had left things alone because you’d be better off having not done anything.

But still you try and still you hope.  Things will get better you tell yourself.  This is not a lie but you struggle to believe.  You know things will get better but in that moment, nothing could possibly get better.  Sometimes you want a hug or to feel the touch of someone special but there is no special person and you fear the touch of anyone; even family.  You want to hug and love the world but the world can never touch you or care for you because you feel too much and express too little.

You feel emotions more strongly than most others but you never show them and everyone assumes you have no emotions.  Part of this is a defensive wall and no one can come inside.  The downside is you cannot come out of the wall.  You feel trapped and forgotten inside your own head, inside your own invisible wall; no one can get in because no one knows how.  Only you can remove the wall but you also do not know how.  You must become your own hero because no one else will save you.  You do not believe anyone wants to save you.

You see others who fight the same battle you face each day.  You try to help them because in some way you think it will help you.  Who better to help them than you?  You understand how to touch them without touching them.  You know what they want to hear.  They think you are brave because you force yourself to talk about your troubles.  You acknowledge the pain and embrace this.  The sad truth is, no one else is brave enough to tell you what you want to hear; what you need to hear.  You must tell yourself.  You must become your own hero because no one else will save you.  You must want to save yourself.

Some days are better than others.

Anxious Always

Everyday feels like you are fighting against the world. The truth is, that world you keep fighting is you. You fight against your own thoughts and cannot stop yourself from overanalyzing every situation. Why did you say that? What are you doing? Who wants to be around you? At just the right moment, these thoughts can cripple and paralyze you. Nothing is ever good enough and you are never good enough but you keep fighting yourself because there is nothing else to do but push forward. There is nothing to do but hope things will get better. They always do but your mind creates new obstacles.

You want nothing more than to walk up and tell everyone how much you struggle but you also do not believe anyone would care about anything you say. So, you tell no one. It is easier. Endure the struggle because that is what people do. Is it not? Sometimes people ask you how you are and you answer and say you are doing well and sometimes the answer is honest because in that moment you are doing well. Sometimes the answer is a lie and you say you are well because that is what people say. It is scripted and predictable so the other person goes away and leaves you alone.

People attempt to be polite and show you courtesy but you hate being around anyone. You enjoy being around a small amount of people like in a coffee shop where each person has their own space and no one talks. You feel social in this way. You feel less like a freak this way. Someone tries to talk to you. Nope. Nope. Go away. That is what you want to say but you do not because that would be rude and you would hate yourself for being rude but then you hate yourself for listening because now the person will not stop talking to you. Just walk away.

You spend all your time avoiding people, even people you like and want to see, but you avoid them anyway because that is what your instinct tells you is right. Then something happens. You meet someone new or you start to know someone better and you feel something. At first you do not really know but you are curious and explore. This person makes you comfortable. You are comfortable with friends but this feels different. A connection of sorts. You cannot explain it. You enjoy being with and around this person. This person is not like anyone else you have ever met.

Naturally, you try to spend more time with this person. Your schedules never seem to line up. It is like this is not meant to be. You continue pursuing something because this person touches you in a way that is unfamiliar. There are levels to receiving another person’s touch. Strangers touch you and it is as if every nerve in your body is connected to this one spot that is being touched and all five senses are gravitating towards this spot. It feels like danger and you need to leave. Then there is the touch from a close friend or family member. You have known this person or many years and you feel no threat.

This person who touches you differently in a new way. You cannot explain what this is. They seem like a close friend but the touch is still very different. The touch feels like they are being cautious. The touch feels like they know how you feel around other people and want you to feel safe around them. It is like they can sense your uneasiness. They touch you lightly, gently. In a way that says do not be upset, you are safe. How is it no one has ever touched you this way before?

You attempt to move things to another level with this person. Social interaction is a foreign concept that you will never understand but you try. You want to take this person out on a date. Every person you have taken this step with immediately ignores and avoids you. You feel this could happen again. You do not want to lose the only person who has ever made you feel the way you think normal people feel. But still you take a chance. You do it. No response. They ignore and avoid you. You were right. It happened again.

Three weeks pass, you have moved through each of the five stages of grief because that is what you do with the smallest issue and this felt like a larger issue. The person contacts you, casually, as if nothing has happened. You start talking again, only a little at first. You also act as though nothing has happened. Are you a hypocrite? No. You just do not want to lose another person when so many in your life have left you. You still want to tell this person how important they are to you but you feel they will not feel the same. That is okay.

Maybe they struggle with their own thought the same way you do. Maybe they were just as scared and anxious as you were. Maybe they did not know how to tell you no without hurting you because even though they are not interested, they still like you and want to keep you around. There are always too many maybes. You force yourself to stop creating maybes and just be happy that someone wants to talk to you sometimes. But there will always be maybes. There will always be what ifs. Why did you say that? What are you doing? Who wants to be around you?

It is a never-ending cycle. You cannot stop the thinking. You cannot stop the worrying. You cannot stop. You only want someone to hold you but you do not want anyone to touch you. You find someone that could bring the comfort you seek and then you screw everything up before it even starts. You always screw things up because that is what you do; you overthink, you worry, you screw up, you panic over nothing, you jump into something too soon because you are afraid of missing a chance that will only come with patience. But there is no patience in anxiety.

What Inspires Me

I was raised by the nightmares of my parents.  Quite literally, I was born into the darkness; molded by it.  That first glimmer of light within me did not occur until I was already a man.

My mother faced sexual assault at an early age from her own father and later developed Dissociative Identity Disorder.  My father faced the onslaught of hatred from African American teenagers because he was white while living on the poor side of town in the late 1960s.  He was five-years-old when Martin Luther King was shot.  My father’s brother’s life ended too soon on Christmas Day, 1984 because of a mistake that never should have been made.

These are just a select few of the horrors I grew up hearing.  Then my own battles and horrors began.  A lifelong struggle of understanding and a search for purpose have been the motivation and inspiration for me to change the world for the better.  I studied theater and feel a strong connection with performance and self expression.  Am I the best?  No, but that is not what self expression is about.  It is about creating something.  The opposite of war is not peace but creation.  Creating something channels that darkness into something good.

My identity is unusual.  I am an asexual, masculine male with high functioning anxiety.  My goals and achievements are literally all I have.  Yes, I have friends and acquaintances but few of them understand my own drive.  I want to create a better world with fewer nightmares and more dreams coming to reality.  I can achieve this through theater and self expression.  As a mad scientist once said, “Don’t dream it – Be it!”

I am a Writer

I have been writing for almost fifteen years.  I really feel this is one of my strongest skills.  I believe I am good at many things.  When it comes to writing, I feel great.  Have I been professionally published?  No.  Have I sold lots of stories and made money from my writing?  Not really.  Have I self-published and sold a few to people who were not friends or family?  Kind of I guess.  It is not an easy market to jump into but I believe I have been writing long enough and have acquired enough knowledge and skill to really change the world through writing.

If you are reading this than I have already succeeded in one small way.  Who knew that was all it took?  It does not matter how much money one makes, or how many times one is published.  That is the business of writing, yes, but that is not what makes a great writer.  I can insert a couple of popular contemporary writers who are simply terrible.  I do not think this is the fault of the writer but more of the editor and the agent for not working to make the writing better.  That is the purpose of agents and editors, to make the story or book marketable and profitable.  That is all.

So, with the marketable/profitable angle, I am in no way successful.  From the artist perspective, I have made a small impact on a few people.  That is the purpose for any artist; to make people feel something.  It does not matter what it is if the person has some feeling from the artist’s work.  It could be anger, happiness, melancholy, ambivalence, whatever…  I recently realized this was, on a small scale, the purpose of human interaction.  We are here to make each other fell something.

People have spent centuries trying to discover what it all means.  I think the poets, painters, sculptures, writers, and any other artists are closer than anyone else.  The purpose of life is to create and to feel.  Unfortunately, everyone just wants to be numb and destroy everything.  Now more than ever does the world need painters and poets and any other artists.  Now more than ever does the world need to create and to feel.  It is in emotions that we are reminded of our humanity.  It is creation that brings out the best in everyone.  So, I write.

When I feel something strongly, I write.  When I cannot find the words, I write.  I do not always write about what has transpired but when I write something, when I create something, it brings out the best I have and makes me feel like I have a purpose.  While I don’t know what it is exactly, I have a divine life purpose.  I have a soul mission.  I have a reason for being and I think it involves writing.  Maybe most of you will not read this.  Maybe most of you in the world will ignore anything I can offer.  That will never stop me from writing because sometimes writing is the only thing I have.